Policeman in fraud inquiry hanged himself

A POLICEMAN hanged himself shortly after he was questioned and bailed in connection with a fraud inquiry.

Sgt Simon Jenkinson, 31, had a promising career ahead of him and had begun to rise through the ranks of West Yorkshire Police, but following his arrest he had been suspended from duty and if charged and convicted faced a possible prison sentence and could have lost his job.

A hearing at Leeds Coroner’s Court yesterday was told that Sgt Jenkinson, of Meanwood, Leeds, was also fearful his partner would no longer wish to marry him. He had told her he would admit his guilt and urged her to visit him in prison.

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Prior to his death Sgt Jenkinson had told his brother, Stephen Jenkinson, he expected to receive a two-year-old prison sentence for his offences.

The details of the potential allegations that Sgt Jenkinson faced were not discussed at yesterday’s hearing but it is understood they involved an insurance claim thought to have been made as a result of a burglary.

In a statement read at the hearing, his brother said Sgt Jenkinson had told him he was not responsible for the burglary or damage to cars.

Det Sgt Gary Taylor, who investigated the death, said: “It seems clear from the evidence that he was potentially expecting to receive a prison sentence.”

When Sgt Jenkinson was arrested he co-operated fully and appeared concerned for officers who would have to deal with the case.

He was kept in custody overnight and had to be taken to Pinderfields Hospital, in Wakefield, after telling officers he had taken some tablets found in a mattress and showed them a rope fashioned from bed linen.

But the hearing was told he gave conflicting accounts about whether it was a genuine attempt. He indicated to his partner and sister-in-law it was a genuine attempt to do himself harm. But Pc Stephen Bell, who has since retired, was at the time a Police Federation representative and Sgt Jenkinson suggested to him the suicide attempt had not happened.

He repeatedly gave reassurances that he was fine.

Sgt Jenkinson was arrested on Monday, July 26, last year and taken to Wood Street police station in Wakefield for questioning and detained overnight. He was suspended from his duties and later released on bail.

The hearing was told that officers were concerned for his safety and Pc Bell offered to take him to his brother’s home in Derbyshire. He declined so Pc Bell drove him home. He offered to stay with him but Sgt Jenkinson asked him to leave but his brother later picked him up and took him home with him.

He had to return to Leeds for a meeting with Pc Bell later in the week. Pc Bell spoke to him around an hour before he discovered his body when he went to collect him on Thursday, July 29, last year.

He was found hanging from the loft hatch by his dressing gown cord. A post mortem found he died as a result of hanging.

Coroner David Hinchliff said it was likely the enormity of the problems facing him would have been preying upon him at the time of his death. He recorded a verdict that he took his own life.

Det Sgt Taylor said the death was not suspicious and an investigation had found correct procedures had been followed while Sgt Jenkinson was detained in custody.